Stewardship of Mercy

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017

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The Jubilee Year of Mercy is now in the history books and looking back I wonder if I have been changed at all by the observance. Certainly the focus on mercy wasn’t all about God’s mercy toward me? Yes, I focused on my sin and the need for God’s forgiveness and grace, but hopefully that changed how I live my life and how I offer mercy to others.

The mercy we receive from God is not something we are to keep bottled up or hidden from others. Jesus taught us to treat others the way we would like to be treated and to love everyone, even our enemies. When Jesus healed the Canaanite woman I wonder what she did next. I would hope she in turn offered mercy and healing to others. Of course, I know she was imperfect just like me so I am sure in no time she was back to needing the mercy of Jesus. Her demon was gone, but there is always a new evil around every corner.

However, the fact that we are a broken people always in need of mercy does not lessen the command for us to offer mercy. Mercy is a gift like so many others that God lavishes on us with great generosity. We are called to cultivate this and share it with others as well. If we cannot do that then what was the real effect of God’s mercy in our lives? If we do not allow God to change us into more generous stewards ready to offer mercy and love to all, then perhaps we are fooling ourselves that we are true disciples of Jesus at all.

 

Becoming What God Intended

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017

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How time flies! This coming year I will have one child graduate from college, one from high school, and one starting high school. I am exhausted thinking about it. My prayer for all my children is that they take the Holy Spirit with them in all that they do and call on God to aid them in discerning their future. That is my prayer, but I know that it will not always be easy for them to follow this path. The key will be for each of them, if they choose, to be what God intended them to be, as opposed to trying to be what they want to be.

It sounds great to say to a child, “You can be anything you want to be.” But at the core of this statement is often the lie that true happiness lies in fulfilling your will for your life. I have seen many people in my life that reached their goals only to find an emptiness and longing for something more. The reality is that our ultimate fulfillment and joy is becoming the person, not that we wanted to be, but the person that God created us to be. This does not mean that we are stuck in some predestined situation. There are many ways we can live out our destiny and use fully use the gifts God gave each of us. But it does mean that we have chosen a path based on where God is leading us and informed by an insight of the distinct gifts with which we have been created. At the end of that path is a life filled with joy, peace, and contentment.

This is what I want for my kids. May they find their success by discerning God’s will and becoming the wonderful people that God intended.